Prime Minister Hun Sen met with his Thai counterpart, Abhisit Vejjajiva, on Friday, as both agreed to move toward peaceful resolution of a contentious border issue that has turned into a nearly intractable row.
Speaking to VOA Khmer ahead of the meeting Saturday afternoon, Abhisit said he hoped for a “good conversation.” He declined to comment on whether Thailand would seek concessions from Cambodia in order to solve the border issue.
Both sides claim a small stretch of land west of the clifftop temple of Preah Vihear and have heavily armed troops entrenched along the border. Only recently did the two sides restore diplomatic ties, after a spat last year over the hiring of ousted Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra as an economic adviser to Hun Sen.
On Friday afternoon, Hun Sen arrived ahead of Abhisit at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel's room for border talk at the sideline of US-ASEAN Summit. The two men greeted each other warmly, and Abhisit requested they talk one on one. In a small sideroom, the two men talked as their foreign ministers waited outside for approximately half an hour.
Prior to the meet, Surin Pitsowan, the secretary-general for Asean, told VOA Khmer it was a “good sign” the two had decided to meet at the “highest level.”
Abhisit declined to comment following the meeting, and Hun Sen was walled off by security.
But Prak Sokhon, a close adviser to Hun Sen, told reporters the meeting had been positive. Both men agreed to avoid confrontation and not to add more troops along the border. They also agreed to strengthen agreements and cooperation to alleviate the border tension, he said.
The two are expected to meet again early next month in another Asean meeting in Europe, as well as Hanoi.